But in the end, the reigning champs proved to be too much, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a blustery Tuesday night to win their second straight St. John’s Molson Senior Baseball League championship with a 9-8 decision over the RMM Vikings.
The Shammies swept the best-of-seven final in straight games.
After Gonzaga rallied in the seventh to send the game into extras, veteran Shamrock Andrew Symonds led off the ninth inning with a base hit. The next hitter, Brent Power, tried to bunt Symonds to second, but the lead runner was forced out, leaving Power safe of first.
Ben Murphy grounded to short, but the Vikings fielder, Gerald Butt, had no play at second as Power was moving on the pitch. Murphy was out at first with Dave Penney at the plate and two down.
Penney then promptly delivered a double to right field, scoring Power and giving Shamrocks another title.
It was the third straight fall Shamrocks and Gonzaga met in the final. The Vikings won the title in 2015, their second straight championship.
Ben Murphy (3IP, 2H, 0R, 0W, 1K) was the winning pitcher. Mattie Murphy started (5IP, 9H, 5ER, 0W, 2K) and was relieved by Jay Warford (1-plus IP, 4H, 3R, 1ER, 1W, 0K).
Allan Saunders (5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 3W, 3K) came on in the fifth inning for Gonzaga and was charged with the loss. Dave Lahey (4IP, 6H, 6ER, 4W, 3K) started.
Penney was the offensive hero for Shamrocks, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, four RBIs and two runs. Warford had three hits and Symonds had two. Matt Parsons was 3-for-5 in a losing cause. He also knocked in two runs and scored twice. Peter Madden also had two hits for the Vikings.